NCRPO wants to halve Traslacion 2020 procession length
MANILA, Philippines – The length of the Traslacion procession — the day-long parade of the Black Nazarene statue through Manila streets — should be halved, if the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is to be believed.
NCRPO Acting Director Debold Sinas on Friday said they would try a new approach in handling the annual Catholic feast during the Thanksgiving parade on December 31, Tuesday, where a similar albeit shorter and less congested procession also takes place.
Under the new scheme, the carriage containing the statue or the “andas” would be escorted by police mobiles that would ensure a smooth procession from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church. Police officers on foot would also guard both sides of the andas.
“We will not talk about how we will do it in the Traslacion dahil ang gauge namin ngayon is ito munang Thanksgiving mass sa [December] 30. Kung anong gagawin sa Thanksgiving mass, ‘yon din ang gagawin sa Traslacion,” Sinas said in a press briefing.
(We will not talk about how we will do it in the Traslacion because we will use the Thanksgiving mass as a gauge. What we will do there will also be done for the Traslacion.)
He said that if the trip is shortened, then it would mean lesser time of being exposed to several threats — including possible terrorist attacks.
“If we could cut that into half, makahinga na kami ng maluwag no’n, mas lessened na ‘yong time na vulnerable to any threat, both criminal and terrorist, ‘yon po ‘yong target namin,” Sinas added.
“The threat is real, ano ‘yong nangyari sa Cotabato, hihintayin pa ba natin dito?” he asked.
(If we could cut that into half, we could breathe easy since the amount of time people are vulnerable to any threat, both criminal and terrorist, have been lessened. The threat is real, will we wait for what happened in Cotabato to transpire here?)
Around a million devotees make their way to Manila every January 9, widely considered as the feast of the Black Nazarene, to pay respects and to pray for various things like good health and fortune.
The image, which owes its color to a fire it sustained while being shipped from Mexico in 1607, is believed to be miraculous. This has prompted Filipinos of all ages, gender, and social status to shun their footwear for a day and join the parade.
From Quirino Grandstand, the organizers move the Black Nazarene along Padre Burgos Street, then down to Jones Bridge, before making several trips along Manila’s minor streets.
However, due to the sheer number of devotees flocking the festivities, problems such as long trips, injuries, and even casualties have emerged every year. While there has been a reduction in the total elapsed time from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church over the years, 2019’s edition still lasted 21 hours.
Authorities in recent years have also placed signal jammers in the vicinity of the route to avoid a possible cellphone-triggered detonation of explosive devices.
For 2020’s Traslacion though, Sinas said they are still mulling whether or not a jammer should be placed. But aside from terrorist attacks, he said that they are also preparing for possible criminal incidents.
Sinas said that they have sought the help of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) regarding their mobile jail where troublemakers, intoxicated and supposedly drugged individuals would be detained until the event is over.
“Meron din kaming nakausap sa BJMP, ‘yong mobile jail ng BJMP i-position na namin. May mga tao kami dyan na wala nang gagawin, hatak na lang nang hatak, ipasok na lang sa kulungan,” he noted.
(We also talked with BJMP, the mobile jail of the BJMP will be pre-positioned. We have personnel there who would be tasked to arrest and detain troublemakers.)
Edited by JE
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